July 8-9, 2016
I’m a baseball fan in general and a Los Angeles Dodgers fan particularly. When I watch the Dodgers play in Pittsburgh I love the view of the city from the stadium; so, when we made plans to travel east this summer I was delighted when I saw the Pirates would be playing at home during the time we would be driving through.
We drove in from Lancaster, Pennsylvania through the scenic Allegheny mountains including driving through at least three incredibly long tunnels. We dropped down out of the mountains into the valley where Pittsburgh is situated. The city is situated where the Allegheny river and the Monongahela (I don’t know how to pronounce it either) merge and form the Ohio River.
PNC Park, where the Pirates Play is adjacent to the Allegheny just a few blocks from the Ohio.
Our GPS was guiding us to our hotel which was directly across the street from the stadium when we found our route over the Roberto Clemente Bridge closed to traffic along with many of the other roads near the stadium. We wound our way through back alleys trying to get to the hotel when we ended up behind a HumVee stretch limo that had difficulty navigating the tight turns in the narrow streets and alleys – he required a 10-point turn at one point. I eventually stopped in an alley while Carla walked to the hotel to check us in and get directions on how to get to their parking garage.
We checked into our room and were immediately treated to the sounds of a train running on the tracks just across the freeway from our hotel!
After that excitement, we headed down to see the sites. Pirates fans know how to celebrate – a number of streets were blocked off and a street party complete with a live rock band and beer tents was in full force.
From the bridge we looked up and down the river. The city loves its sports teams – the downtown bridges are painted in the colors of the Pittsburgh Pirates and the NFL Pittsburgh Steelers.
After enjoying ourselves at the street party for a while we went in to find our seats behind home plate. I had to show my Dodgers pride wearing a T-shirt I bought at the National Baseball Hall of Fame listing all the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers elected to the Hall of Fame.
The view was everything I hoped and it was great watching the skyline colors change as it turned from evening to night.
As I said, Pittsburgh loves its sports teams – the stadium was packed.
Our seat mates were great – which is not always the case. On Carla’s side a man with his adult son came to the game from Chicago to watch their beloved Cubs take on the local nine. On my side were a couple of brothers in their late 20s to early 30s and one of the men’s fiancé. They came from upstate New York to attend college in Pittsburgh and decided to stay. They were fun to talk to about baseball and they were boosters for their adopted city. The crowd was great but boy was it hot: close to 90° at game time with no breeze and high humidity. Nevertheless, we had a blast.
The next morning we walked back across the bridge to downtown Pittsburgh to find a breakfast place. We ended up at Cherry’s Diner – a dinky little place with breakfast fare.
We also saw the PPG group building up close – unfortunately I didn’t capture it behind right field in the pictures above. It looks like a glass castle. It looks like the clouds are moving right through the building.
Somewhere downtown we saw a gargoyle defending a building.
After our breakfast and walk around the core downtown area we hopped in our car and headed back toward Chicago. We would stop that night just off the interstate in Ohio – but more about that later.